6 Childbirth Tips from Surah Maryam (Reflection)

date-tree-1378107-1598x1062The pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm tree. She said, “Oh, I wish I had died before this and was in oblivion, forgotten.” But he called her from below her, “Do not grieve; your Lord has provided beneath you a stream. And shake toward you the trunk of the palm tree; it will drop upon you ripe, fresh dates. So eat and drink and be contented. {19:23-26}

1) Accept that labour will be painful

As a woman, labour will be one of the most painful encounters you will go through in your entire life. If one of the greatest women in humanity Maryam (as) said about labour “Oh I wish I had died before this and was in oblivion, forgotten.” then where do you stand?

When we acknowledge that pain is a natural part of the birthing process, we can then discuss natural ways of pain management. Pointing out that labor involves immense pain does not serve to scare you, but it aims to prepare you. Having realistic expectations of what you are about to go through will allow you to prepare adequately both mentally and physically. Rather than dismissing thoughts of the pain of childbirth, research pain management techniques such as deep breathing. Just as important as it is to be physically fit throughout pregnancy and during labour, it is as important to get yourself mentally prepared for both labour and a new baby. Don’t be caught out by completely relying on pain medications such as an epidural.

In the heat and intensity of all that pain by the will of Allah it is possible to be totally in control despite the pain. Once you go into it with a positive mindset, and you get through it (and InshaAllah you will, Allah made you for this) there is a good chance that you will come out of it feeling much more empowered as a woman. To find out how to prepare yourself speak to sisters who have had a positive birthing experience.

2) Have an experienced Support person.

But he called her from below her, “Do not grieve;

The scholars differ on who the voice that spoke to Maryam alayhi salam was. It was either baby Issa (peace be upon him) or angel Jibreel. Nevertheless, what we might understand from this is that Maryam (as) during her distressing event had positive words of encouragement. During labour women need consistent, continuous reassurance. Comfort and encouragement. Not everyone is fit to be a support person for a labouring woman, so you need to select wisely. Different cultures have different preferences on who should be the support person. Remember it’s ok not to have your husband there. Maryam (as) was sure did not. Amina the mother of our prophet Sallahu Alyhi waslam didn’t have a husband beside her either.

Common sense tells us that someone who has given birth before with lots of patience is probably a good candidate. Most men don’t fit in this criteria. What you need is someone to be your advocate at a time of vulnerability. Speak to them about what you would like on the day. Research shows that professional doulas have contributed to positive birthing experiences. Women with a doula are less likely to have a caesarian section, they report reduction in pain and reduction in length of labour.

3) Consider water as part of your labour process

Your Lord has provided beneath you a stream.

Waterbirth has been described as the liquid epidural. SubhanAllah, perhaps it is no coincidence that Allah provided Maryam (as) with a stream beneath her. Many women have reported pain levels reduced by more than 50 percent as soon as they came into contact with water.

There are many benefits in water birth. Water helps regulate muscle tension. If you choose to sit in a bath you will be more buoyant allowing you to move around much more quickly and freely. The ability to adopt different positions assist with the management of painful contractions. Standing under a warm shower is also an option to consider. As Allah (swa) says Allah has created every [living] creature from water. 24:45 What is more beautiful than having that which life was created from welcoming a life into the world?

4) Shake that baby out – Get Active Sisters

“And shake toward you the trunk of the palm tree”

From what I have heard it is very difficult to shake a palm tree by anyone let alone a laboring one. But imagine the position Maryam alayhi salam must have been in. She would either be standing or most probably squatting facing the tree arms stretched forward; trying to shake the tree. If we assume that it had been Angel Jibreel that gave her the command to not grieve then we may also assume that at this stage she has not yet delivered yet. Through the wisdom of Allah could this position be the ideal position for women to deliver in?

Literature shows that lying down for birth is a relatively modern phenomenon. Anthropological data on birthing shows women have always preferred to squat or stand, this they say is instinctive. Research shows that been more active and allowing the mother to adopt different positions has been linked with shorter birth duration. Less pain, fewer forceps, and fewer vacuum births. When giving birth in a standing or squatting position gravity aids tremendously, you can expect progressive contractions and better oxygenation for mother and baby.

5) Eat Fresh dates and Drink to hydrate yourself

“it will drop upon you ripe, fresh dates. So eat and drink….”

The uterus is a large muscle and each contraction it uses a large amount of energy. Keeping the body-fuelled with readily available energy sources is important. While some foods take a long time to get to your blood stream dates have a sugar called fructose. Fructose is a type of sugar that gives a rapid rise in the blood-sugar levels. Dates are the perfect food to aid all of the muscles in your body during this taxing time. Furthermore, dates contain a wealth of minerals such as sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, fiber, iron, sulphur, phosphorus, and chlorine to aid with the balancing electrolytes. Pain may cause many sisters to overlook at consuming dates during the labour process; let’s face it; it’s not exactly a time to be thinking about food. It may be encouraging to know that sugar has been proven to ease pain intensity.

Remember to drink to hydrate yourself. Even sips of water help. The benefits of drinking water are endless. It aids in the balance of electrolytes, and it is essential as it transports the nutrients around the body. Especially for first-time mothers, it could take well over 12 hours of labour drink plenty! The beauty of both these treats are that they can be quickly consumed between contractions. Have them ready in your bag. For extra nutritional water have some Zam Zam water handy. Personally, I find zamzam water very heavy and struggle to drink a lot of it; if your the same add it to other water.

6) Be content – (Think positive) 

“..and be contented”

Your attitude and outlook on the experience will determine how you emotionally cope. It is important to be in control and to always practice positive thinking. Be happy with the will of Allah regardless of how the birth had panned out.

It is important to remind ourselves that we don’t control all the variables in any situation. Sometimes even though you have done the best that you can there is still the Qadr (divine decree) of Allah that will over power. It is sometimes good sometimes (perceived by us as) bad. Positive thinking in combination with been grateful will reduce stress levels, improve your outlook and relax your body. These are some of the important factors to help ward of postnatal depression.

As a mother, I can tell you that the hard work starts once the child is born. Remember you will InshaAllah find strength through the remembrance of Allah. Please remember that this is merely a reflection. It is not a Tafseer or anything similar to that. What is good is from Allah what is bad is from the author.